July 17, 2024

Benguet State University continues to push for the recovery of its properties from informal settlers through peaceful means, as plans for the institution’s further development ensue. 
Newly-installed BSU President Felipe Comila said last week the university is open to discuss the matter with individuals with adverse claims to arrive at a win-win solution.
“This is our stand. We are open to any solution to address these claims on lands. Our lawyers have already been having meetings with National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Commissioner Gaspar Cayat and we shall address this in a more peaceful means,” Comila said.
BSU Director of the Land Reservation Office Feliciano delos Santos said out of the 605-hectare reservation of BSU, only approximately 200 hectares are considered cleared or without adverse claimants.
But Delos Santos said even with these 200 hectares, problems are still encountered.
The lands with informal settlers are mostly residential areas and farmlands, and some of the settlers cultivated more than a hectare.
He said there are close to 1,000 houses built within the university land reservation. 
“Parang lahat ng nasa bundok, na-claim na lahat. Iyon ang number one na problema sa university when it comes to the land,” Delos Santos said.
Around 50 cases were filed against land claimants and more will be filed.
Delos Santos said they have to file cases individually against each claimant, even as BSU is having a hard time identifying the land claimants.
Meantime, Comila said while they are continuing talks with the affected land claimants, they are deploying security guards and putting up fences around the university properties. 
He said they are also issuing notices to those who are illegally putting up structures within the university lands as well as notices for the community not to buy from unscrupulous individuals selling portions of BSU lands. – Ofelia C. Empian